The Media and Development MA is an interdisciplinary course that teaches main theories, concepts, case studies and practical media skills around the theme of media and development and its implications for less developed countries. The course will provide you with a unique blend of theory and practice teaching, aimed at deepening your knowledge of the history of communications within the development process of emerging economies. It will critically evaluate the impact of international and regional institutions from a critical political economic perspective. Teaching by academic staff, guest lecturers and other carefully selected staff from development organisations will provide you with an overview of the policies, actions and impact of state and non-state institutions within the area of communication media and development.
A distinctive feature is its emphasis on the practical role of communication media in development. You will participate in media production workshops and take part in our internship programme, offered in partnership with media and development organisations in London. As part of the work experience module, students participate in an extensive NGOs and media seminar series featuring experts and panel discussions. The work placement programme is in line with the University of Westminster’s strategy of nurturing of the critical practitioner.
The course team is led by Dr Winston Mano and includes Professor Daya Thussu, Professor Christian Fuchs, Professor David Gauntlett, Professor Naomi Sakr, Dr Anthony McNicholas, Dr Xin Xin, Dr Anastasia Kavada, Dr Maria Michalis, Dr Roza Tsagarousianou, Dr Tarik Sabry, Paul Majendie, Geoffrey Davies and Michaela O’Brien. Visiting Lecturers include Jackie Davies, founder and Director of the Communication and Development Network (C4D) (www.c4d.org), a community of professionals working in communication for development. As a peer network the C4D Network is aimed at communication for development practitioners plus allied development workers, donors, academics and communication experts from the BBC, UN and major development organisations. The joining criterion is an engagement in communication for development - either professionally or through academia. Students on the Media and Development MA have the option to join the C4D network and each can do a fellowship/internship with the network during the course.
THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION
The module is intentionally eclectic.You will cover (in a loosely historical way) the arguments, advantages and problems of the main sociological, cultural and psychological theories about the media. It aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the most important ways of approaching the fundamental issues posed by the relationships between the media of communication and social and economic life. It will also enable you to understand the problems posed by different intellectual traditions, and to place those theories in their proper contexts.
THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT
This module focuses on different theories and approaches to development. It considers key development theories and approaches such as modernization, dependency and Neo- Liberalism and will provide you with an opportunity to critically assess their relevance to specific contexts in developing countries.
A taught module and group workshops in the first semester will guide you in conducting a major piece of independent research. This module will be supplemented by individual supervisions beginning from the second semester. The aim is to give you a guided framework within which you can demonstrate your ability to carry out advanced independent study and write it up in the form of a dissertation. The dissertation is a 15,000-word piece of original research on a topic agreed with your supervisor and related to the political, economic, cultural and/or sociological factors which shape the practices and outcomes of mass media, including media texts and the audience reception of them.
DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS POLICY
The aims of this module are to provide you with a theoretical overview of the concept of ‘development’, and the opportunity to consider how it relates to empirical experience in communications in small and developing countries. You will be able to analyse the role of multilateral and bilateral agencies, NGOs, public service broadcasting and to compare the experiences of a range of countries in attempting to retain cultural autonomy, in developing their own communications technologies and policies, in democratisation, and in exporting mass media content. This module also critically discusses Chinese intervention in communication and development in Africa.
MEDIA WORK EXPERIENCE
Students will be encouraged to take work experience during the course. With the number of charities and NGOs dealing with development in London, we expect students will get a placement with an organisation and we envisage them working in a communications role. Students on the Media and Development MA have the option to join the C4D Network and each can do a fellowship/internship with the network during the course.
The Media and Development MA is suitable for you if you would value an opportunity to be able to reflect critically on the role of media in the process of development and learn practical skills. The course will be of interest to you if you have a background in working for governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations, and a range of international business organisations, while at the same time providing appropriate preparation for those seeking employment in such fields or, indeed, wanting to prepare for further studies for higher a higher degree, including a PhD.
While the majority of our graduates will return to more senior posts with improved skills, knowledge and qualifications gained from their year with us, we would expect them to apply for jobs at development organisations such as Internews, BBC Media Action, Oxfam, Save the Children, Red Cross, ActionAid, Panos, DfiD, Intermedia, Institute of War and Peace, Christian Aid, WACC, OneWorld and War on Want.
Students on the MA in Media and Development will mainly get work experience opportunities in London. The course equips students with skills, strategies and practical knowledge of work in the media for development sector. Students participate in media production workshops and take part in our internship programme offered in partnership with media and development organisations in London. The inclusion of an internship/work placement programme on this MA is in line with the University’s strategy of nurturing of the critical practitioner.
The Media Work Experience module requires all students to source, secure and complete one or more (depending on the length) work placements in a media and development environment. They will produce a full Personal Development Plan (PDP) to identify their core skills and match them with work placement opportunities. They will develop the PDP as they approach media and development organisations, obtain work placements and as they maintain a diary to reflect on the development of their skills and experience. The module extends across the summer term to allow students to gain the maximum value from their work experience.
In 2011-2012 industry speakers included Sophie Chalk, from OneWorld, who is a highly experienced television producer/director. Using her knowledge of filming in more than 25 countries around the world, Sophie held a day long workshop to explore representation, practicalities of working in a developing country and how to make programming appealing to the widest possible audience.
Graduates of the first year (2012) are applying for posts in development organisations based in London such as OneWorld, Oxfam, Save the Children, Red Cross, ActionAid, Panos, DfiD, Intermedia, BBC, Institute of War and Peace, Christian Aid and War on Want. Some students were able to build on knowledge, skills and their background in working for governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations (in Romania, Pakistan and India) and a range of international business organisations, including the BBC. The course also prepares students for further studies and for a higher degree, e.g., a PhD. Some students applied for PhD Scholarships advertised by the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design and they were all encouraged to join the Communication for Development Network (C4D) which meets once a month in London.
We are aware that the range of skills needed is exceptionally diffuse, and that students on the course hope to develop careers in a variety of fields in many different countries. We are also aware that we are preparing you for careers in a rapidly changing job market and the structure of the course allows you take advantage of change, and not to be its victim. It, therefore, would be misleading and unhelpful to place too much emphasis on acquiring a precise set of skills drawn from one part of the media and development sector. Finally, with a view to your professional development planning, the course is designed to give you a wide-ranging and critical knowledge of the development industry that you plan to enter.
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Last updated April 14, 2016